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Two weeks later, however, Saddam Hussein delivered a speech in which he accused neighboring Kuwait of siphoning crude oil from their common border, claiming that Kuwait and Saudi Arabia were conspiring to keep oil prices low in an effort to pander to Western oil-buying nations.
Alarmed by these actions, President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt initiated negotiations between Iraq and Kuwait, but Hussein broke off the negotiations after only two hours, and on August 2, ordered the invasion of Kuwait.
President George H. Bush immediately condemned the invasion, as did the governments of Britain and the Soviet Union.
On November 29, , the U. In the video, he asks a young British boy, Stuart Lockwood, whether he is getting his milk, and goes on to say, through his interpreter, "We hope your presence as guests here will not be for too long.
Your presence here, and in other places, is meant to prevent the scourge of war. The official communicated to the White House that Iraq would "withdraw from Kuwait and allow foreigners to leave" provided that the UN lifted sanctions, allowed "guaranteed access to the Persian Gulf through the Kuwaiti islands of Bubiyan and Warbah", and allowed Iraq to "gain full control of the Rumaila oil field that extends slightly into Kuwaiti territory".
The proposal also "include[d] offers to negotiate an oil agreement with the United States 'satisfactory to both nations' national security interests,' develop a joint plan 'to alleviate Iraq's economical and financial problems' and 'jointly work on the stability of the gulf.
On 29 November , the Security Council passed Resolution , which gave Iraq until 15 January to withdraw from Kuwait, and empowered states to use "all necessary means" to force Iraq out of Kuwait after the deadline.
In December , Iraq made a proposal to withdraw from Kuwait provided that foreign troops left the region and that an agreement was reached regarding the Palestinian problem and the dismantlement of both Israel's and Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.
The White House rejected the proposal. Ultimately, the US and UK stuck to their position that there would be no negotiations until Iraq withdrew from Kuwait and that they should not grant Iraq concessions, lest they give the impression that Iraq benefited from its military campaign.
On 14 January , France proposed that the UN Security Council call for "a rapid and massive withdrawal" from Kuwait along with a statement to Iraq that Council members would bring their "active contribution" to a settlement of the region's other problems, "in particular, of the Arab—Israeli conflict and in particular to the Palestinian problem by convening, at an appropriate moment, an international conference" to assure "the security, stability and development of this region of the world.
One of the West's main concerns was the significant threat Iraq posed to Saudi Arabia. Following Kuwait's conquest, the Iraqi Army was within easy striking distance of Saudi oil fields.
Control of these fields, along with Kuwaiti and Iraqi reserves, would have given Saddam control over the majority of the world's oil reserves.
Iraq also had a number of grievances with Saudi Arabia. The Saudis had backed Iraq in that war, as they feared the influence of Shia Iran's Islamic revolution on its own Shia minority.
After the war, Saddam felt he should not have to repay the loans due to the help he had given the Saudis by fighting Iran.
Soon after his conquest of Kuwait, Saddam began verbally attacking the Saudis. He argued that the US-supported Saudi state was an illegitimate and unworthy guardian of the holy cities of Mecca and Medina.
He combined the language of the Islamist groups that had recently fought in Afghanistan with the rhetoric Iran had long used to attack the Saudis.
Bush quickly announced that the US would launch a "wholly defensive" mission to prevent Iraq from invading Saudi Arabia, under the codename Operation Desert Shield.
The operation began on 7 August , when US troops were sent to Saudi Arabia, due also to the request of its monarch, King Fahd , who had earlier called for US military assistance.
Military buildup continued from there, eventually reaching , troops, twice the number used in the invasion of Iraq. Much of the material was airlifted or carried to the staging areas via fast sealift ships , allowing a quick buildup.
Resolution , passed on 29 November gave Iraq a withdrawal deadline until 15 January , and authorized "all necessary means to uphold and implement Resolution ", and a diplomatic formulation authorizing the use of force if Iraq failed to comply.
The first stop was Saudi Arabia, which a month before had already granted permission to the United States to use its facilities.
However, Baker believed that Saudi Arabia should assume some of the cost of the military efforts to defend it. The next day, 7 September, he did just that, and the Emir of Kuwait , displaced in a Sheraton hotel outside his invaded country, easily agreed.
Baker then moved to enter talks with Egypt, whose leadership he considered "the moderate voice of the Middle East". President Mubarak of Egypt was furious with Saddam for his invasion of Kuwait, and for the fact that Saddam had assured Mubarak that an invasion was not his intention.
Assad had a deep personal enmity towards Saddam, which was defined by the fact that "Saddam had been trying to kill him [Assad] for years.
This was a vital step in ensuring Arab states were represented in the coalition. In exchange, Washington gave Syrian dictator President Hafez al-Assad the green light to wipe out forces opposing Syria's rule in Lebanon and arranged for weapons valued at a billion dollars to be provided to Syria, mostly through Gulf states.
Baker flew to Rome for a brief visit with the Italians in which he was promised the use of some military equipment, before journeying to Germany to meet with American ally Chancellor Kohl.
Although Germany's constitution which was brokered essentially by the United States prohibited military involvement in outside nations, Kohl committed a two billion dollar contribution to the coalition's war effort, as well as further economic and military support of coalition ally Turkey, and the transportation of Egyptian soldiers and ships to the Persian Gulf.
It was the largest coalition since World War II. The Soviet Union condemned Baghdad's aggression against Kuwait, but did not support the United States and allied intervention in Iraq and tried to avert it.
Many of the coalition countries were reluctant to commit military forces. Some felt that the war was an internal Arab affair or did not want to increase US influence in the Middle East.
In the end, however, many nations were persuaded by Iraq's belligerence towards other Arab states, offers of economic aid or debt forgiveness, and threats to withhold aid.
The US and the UN gave several public justifications for involvement in the conflict, the most prominent being the Iraqi violation of Kuwaiti territorial integrity.
In addition, the US moved to support its ally Saudi Arabia, whose importance in the region, and as a key supplier of oil, made it of considerable geopolitical importance.
During a speech in a special joint session of the US Congress given on 11 September , US President George Bush summed up the reasons with the following remarks: "Within three days, , Iraqi troops with tanks had poured into Kuwait and moved south to threaten Saudi Arabia.
It was then that I decided to act to check that aggression. The Pentagon stated that satellite photos showing a buildup of Iraqi forces along the border were this information's source, but this was later alleged to be false.
A reporter for the St. Petersburg Times acquired two commercial Soviet satellite images made at the time, which showed nothing but empty desert.
Other justifications for foreign involvement included Iraq's history of human rights abuses under Saddam. Iraq was also known to possess biological weapons and chemical weapons , which Saddam had used against Iranian troops during the Iran—Iraq War and against his own country's Kurdish population in the Al-Anfal campaign.
Iraq was also known to have a nuclear weapons program, but the report about it from January was partially declassified by the CIA on 26 May Although the Iraqi military committed human rights abuses during the invasion, the alleged incidents that received the most publicity in the US were fabrications of the public relations firm hired by the government of Kuwait to persuade Americans to support military intervention.
Among many other means of influencing US opinion, such as distributing books on Iraqi atrocities to US soldiers deployed in the region, "Free Kuwait" T-shirts and speakers to college campuses, and dozens of video news releases to television stations, the firm arranged for an appearance before a group of members of the US Congress in which a young woman identifying herself as a nurse working in the Kuwait City hospital described Iraqi soldiers pulling babies out of incubators and letting them die on the floor.
The story helped tip both the public and Congress towards a war with Iraq: six Congressmen said the testimony was enough for them to support military action against Iraq and seven Senators referenced the testimony in debate.
The Senate supported the military actions in a 52—47 vote. However, a year after the war, this allegation was revealed to be a fabrication.
The young woman who had testified was found to be a member of Kuwait's Royal Family and the daughter of Kuwait's ambassador to the US.
This prompted a reexamination by Amnesty International , which had originally promoted an account alleging even greater numbers of babies torn from incubators than the original fake testimony.
After finding no evidence to support it, the organization issued a retraction. President Bush then repeated the incubator allegations on television.
In reality, the Iraqi Army did commit various well-documented crimes during its occupation of Kuwait, such as the summary execution without trial of three brothers, after which their bodies were stacked and left to decay in a public street.
The Gulf War began with an extensive aerial bombing campaign on 16 January For 42 consecutive days and nights, the coalition forces subjected Iraq to one of the most intensive air bombardments in military history.
The coalition flew over , sorties , dropping 88, tonnes of bombs,  which widely destroyed military and civilian infrastructure. A day after the deadline set in Resolution , the coalition launched a massive air campaign, which began the general offensive codenamed Operation Desert Storm.
The priority was the destruction of Iraq's Air Force and anti-aircraft facilities. The next targets were command and communication facilities. Saddam Hussein had closely micromanaged Iraqi forces in the Iran—Iraq War, and initiative at lower levels was discouraged.
Coalition planners hoped that Iraqi resistance would quickly collapse if deprived of command and control. The air campaign's third and largest phase targeted military targets throughout Iraq and Kuwait: Scud missile launchers, weapons research facilities, and naval forces.
About a third of the coalition's air power was devoted to attacking Scuds, some of which were on trucks and therefore difficult to locate.
US and British special operations forces had been covertly inserted into western Iraq to aid in the search for and destruction of Scuds.
Iraqi anti-aircraft defenses, including man-portable air-defense systems , were surprisingly ineffective against enemy aircraft, and the coalition suffered only 75 aircraft losses in over , sorties, 44 due to Iraqi action.
Two of these losses are the result of aircraft colliding with the ground while evading Iraqi ground-fired weapons.
Iraq's government made no secret that it would attack if invaded. Foreign Minister, if war starts Five hours after the first attacks, Iraq's state radio broadcast declared that "The dawn of victory nears as this great showdown begins.
These missile attacks were to continue throughout the war. Iraq fired 88 Scud missiles during the war's seven weeks. Iraq hoped to provoke a military response from Israel.
The Iraqi government hoped that many Arab states would withdraw from the Coalition, as they would be reluctant to fight alongside Israel.
Israel prepared to militarily retaliate, as its policy for the previous 40 years had always been retaliation. However, President Bush pressured Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir not to retaliate and withdraw Israeli jets, fearing that if Israel attacked Iraq, the other Arab nations would either desert the coalition or join Iraq.
It was also feared that if Israel used Syrian or Jordanian airspace to attack Iraq, they would intervene in the war on Iraq's side or attack Israel.
The coalition promised to deploy Patriot missiles to defend Israel if it refrained from responding to the Scud attacks.
The Scud missiles targeting Israel were relatively ineffective, as firing at extreme range resulted in a dramatic reduction in accuracy and payload.
According to the Jewish Virtual Library , Iraqi attacks killed 74 Israelis: two directly and the rest from suffocation and heart attacks. As a result, Israel's government issued gas masks to its citizens.
When the first Iraqi missiles hit Israel, some people injected themselves with an antidote for nerve gas. It has been suggested that the sturdy construction techniques used in Israeli cities, coupled with the fact that Scuds were only launched at night, played an important role in limiting the number of casualties from Scud attacks.
In response to the threat of Scuds on Israel, the US rapidly sent a Patriot missile air defense artillery battalion to Israel along with two batteries of MIM Patriot missiles for the protection of civilians.
The Dutch Defense Ministry later stated that the military use of the Patriot missile system was largely ineffective, but its psychological value for the affected populations was high.
Coalition air forces were also extensively exercised in "Scud hunts" in the Iraqi desert, trying to locate the camouflaged trucks before they fired their missiles at Israel or Saudi Arabia.
On the ground, special operations forces also infiltrated Iraq, tasked with locating and destroying Scuds - including the ill-fated Bravo Two Zero patrol of the SAS.
Once special operations were combined with air patrols, the number of attacks fell sharply, then increased slightly as Iraqi forces adjusted to coalition tactics.
As the Scud attacks continued, the Israelis grew increasingly impatient, and considered taking unilateral military action against Iraq.
On 22 January , a Scud missile hit the Israeli city of Ramat Gan , after two coalition Patriots failed to intercept it. Three elderly people suffered fatal heart attacks, another 96 people were injured, and 20 apartment buildings were damaged.
At one point, Israeli commandos boarded helicopters prepared to fly into Iraq, but the mission was called off after a phone call from US Defense Secretary Dick Cheney, reporting on the extent of coalition efforts to destroy Scuds and emphasizing that Israeli intervention could endanger US forces.
In addition to the attacks on Israel, 47 Scud missiles were fired into Saudi Arabia, and one missile was fired at Bahrain and another at Qatar.
The missiles were fired at both military and civilian targets. One Saudi civilian was killed, and 78 others were injured.
No casualties were reported in Bahrain or Qatar. The Saudi government issued all its citizens and expatriates with gas masks [ citation needed ] in the event of Iraq using missiles with chemical or biological warheads.
The government broadcast alerts and 'all clear' messages over television to warn citizens during Scud attacks. On 29 January, Iraqi forces attacked and occupied the lightly defended Saudi city of Khafji with tanks and infantry.
Both sides suffered casualties, although Iraqi forces sustained substantially more dead and captured than the allied forces. Eleven Americans were killed in two separate friendly fire incidents, an additional 14 US airmen were killed when their AC gunship was shot down by an Iraqi surface-to-air missile, and two US soldiers were captured during the battle.
Saudi and Qatari forces had a total of 18 dead. Iraqi forces in Khafji had 60— dead and captured. The Battle of Khafji was an example of how air power could single-handedly hinder the advance of enemy ground forces.
Upon learning of Iraqi troop movements, coalition aircraft were diverted to attack an advancing column consisting of two armored divisions in battalion-sized units.
Precision stand-off attacks were conducted during the night and through to the next day. Iraqi vehicle losses included tanks, armored personnel carriers, and 89 mobile artillery pieces.
Some crews simply abandoned their vehicles upon realizing that they could be destroyed by guided bombs, stopping the divisions from massing for an organized attack on the town.
One Iraqi soldier, who had fought in the Iran—Iraq War, remarked that his brigade "had sustained more punishment from allied airpower in 30 minutes at Khafji than in eight years of fighting against Iran.
Task Force 1—41 was the first coalition force to breach the Saudi Arabian border on 15 February , and to conduct ground combat operations in Iraq engaging in direct and indirect fire fights with the enemy on 17 February This joint effort would become known as Task Force Iron.
On 15 February 4th Battalion of the 3rd Field Artillery Regiment fired on a trailer and a few trucks in the Iraqi sector observing American forces.
They were engaged with artillery fire from 4—3 FA. For the next hour the Task Force fought several small battles with Iraqi reconnaissance units.
The rest of the formation was destroyed or driven away by artillery fire from 4—3 FA. Task Force Infantry was the first coalition force to breach the Saudi Arabian border on 15 February and conduct ground combat operations in Iraq engaging in direct and indirect fire fights with the enemy on 17 February Around guns from multiple nations participated in the artillery barrage.
Over 14, rounds were fired during these missions. By the end of these raids Iraqi artillery assets had all but ceased to exist. One Iraqi unit that was totally destroyed during the preparation was the Iraqi 48th Infantry Division Artillery Group.
On 24 February the 1st Cavalry Division conducted a couple artillery missions against Iraqi artillery units. Task Force Infantry was given the task of breaching Iraq's initial defensive positions along the Iraq—Saudi Arabia border.
These defensive positions were occupied by a brigade-sized element. A series of battles unfolded resulting in heavy Iraqi casualties and the Iraqis being removed from their defensive positions with many becoming prisoners of war.
Some escaped to be killed or captured by other coalition forces. The 1st Infantry Division's Task Force Infantry cleared four lanes simultaneously through an enemy fortified trench system while inflicting heavy casualties on Iraqi forces.
The ground campaign consisted of three or possibly four of the largest tank battles in American military history.
The US 3rd Armored Division destroyed approximately enemy combat vehicles during this particular encounter with Iraqi forces.
US decoy attacks by air attacks and naval gunfire the night before Kuwait's liberation were designed to make the Iraqis believe the main coalition ground attack would focus on central Kuwait.
For months, American units in Saudi Arabia had been under almost constant Iraqi artillery fire, as well as threats from Scud missiles and chemical attacks.
They encountered trenches, barbed wire, and minefields. However, these positions were poorly defended, and were overrun in the first few hours.
Several tank battles took place, but otherwise coalition troops encountered minimal resistance, as most Iraqi troops surrendered. The general pattern was that the Iraqis would put up a short fight before surrendering.
However, Iraqi air defenses shot down nine US aircraft. Meanwhile, forces from Arab states advanced into Kuwait from the east, encountering little resistance and suffering few casualties.
Despite the successes of coalition forces, it was feared that the Iraqi Republican Guard would escape into Iraq before it could be destroyed.
It was decided to send British armored forces into Kuwait 15 hours ahead of schedule, and to send US forces after the Republican Guard. The coalition advance was preceded by a heavy artillery and rocket barrage, after which , troops and 1, tanks began their advance.
Iraqi forces in Kuwait counterattacked against US troops, acting on a direct order from Saddam Hussein himself.
Despite the intense combat, the Americans repulsed the Iraqis and continued to advance towards Kuwait City. Kuwaiti forces were tasked with liberating the city.
Iraqi troops offered only light resistance. The Kuwaitis quickly liberated the city despite losing one soldier and having one plane shot down.
However, an Iraqi unit at Kuwait International Airport appeared not to have received the message and fiercely resisted. US Marines had to fight for hours before securing the airport, after which Kuwait was declared secure.
After four days of fighting, Iraqi forces were expelled from Kuwait. As part of a scorched earth policy, they set fire to nearly oil wells and placed land mines around the wells to make extinguishing the fires more difficult.
The war's ground phase was officially designated Operation Desert Saber. These eight-man patrols landed behind Iraqi lines to gather intelligence on the movements of Scud mobile missile launchers, which could not be detected from the air, as they were hidden under bridges and camouflage netting during the day.
The operations were designed to prevent any possible Israeli intervention. Due to lack of sufficient ground cover to carry out their assignment, One Zero and Three Zero abandoned their operations, while Two Zero remained, and was later compromised, with only Sergeant Chris Ryan escaping to Syria.
Elements of the 2nd Brigade, 1st Battalion 5th Cavalry of the 1st Cavalry Division of the US Army performed a direct attack into Iraq on 15 February , followed by one in force on 20 February that led directly through seven Iraqi divisions which were caught off guard.
It was a feint attack, designed to make the Iraqis think that a coalition invasion would take place from the south.
The Iraqis fiercely resisted, and the Americans eventually withdrew as planned back into the Wadi Al-Batin. Three US soldiers were killed and nine wounded, with one M2 Bradley IFV turret destroyed, but they had taken 40 prisoners and destroyed five tanks, and successfully deceived the Iraqis.
On 22 February , Iraq agreed to a Soviet-proposed ceasefire agreement. The agreement called for Iraq to withdraw troops to pre-invasion positions within six weeks following a total ceasefire, and called for monitoring of the ceasefire and withdrawal to be overseen by the UN Security Council.
The coalition rejected the proposal, but said that retreating Iraqi forces would not be attacked, [ citation needed ] and gave 24 hours for Iraq to withdraw its forces.
On 23 February, fighting resulted in the capture of Iraqi soldiers. On 24 February, British and American armored forces crossed the Iraq—Kuwait border and entered Iraq in large numbers, taking hundreds of prisoners.
Iraqi resistance was light, and four Americans were killed. This movement's left flank was protected by the French Division Daguet. The st Airborne Division conducted a combat air assault into enemy territory.
The French force quickly overcame Iraq's 45th Infantry Division, suffering light casualties and taking a large number of prisoners, and took up blocking positions to prevent an Iraqi counterattack on the coalition's flank.
The movement's right flank was protected by the United Kingdom's 1st Armoured Division. Once the allies had penetrated deep into Iraqi territory, they turned eastward, launching a flank attack against the elite Republican Guard before it could escape.
The Iraqis resisted fiercely from dug-in positions and stationary vehicles, and even mounted armored charges. Unlike many previous engagements, the destruction of the first Iraqi tanks did not result in a mass surrender.
The Iraqis suffered massive losses and lost dozens of tanks and vehicles, while US casualties were comparatively low, with a single Bradley knocked out.
They took prisoners and inflicted heavy losses, defeating Iraq's 26th Infantry Division. A US soldier was killed by an Iraqi land mine, another five by friendly fire, and 30 wounded during the battle.
In nearly two days of some of the war's most intense fighting, the British destroyed 40 enemy tanks and captured a division commander.
Meanwhile, US forces attacked the village of Al Busayyah , meeting fierce resistance. The US force destroyed military hardware and took prisoners, while suffering no casualties.
The missile attack killed 28 US military personnel. The coalition's advance was much swifter than US generals had expected.
On 26 February, Iraqi troops began retreating from Kuwait, after they had set of its oil wells on fire. A long convoy of retreating Iraqi troops formed along the main Iraq—Kuwait highway.
Although they were retreating, this convoy was bombed so extensively by coalition air forces that it came to be known as the Highway of Death.
Thousands of Iraqi troops were killed. One hundred hours after the ground campaign started, on 28 February, President Bush declared a ceasefire, and he also declared that Kuwait had been liberated.
In coalition-occupied Iraqi territory, a peace conference was held where a ceasefire agreement was negotiated and signed by both sides. At the conference, Iraq was authorized to fly armed helicopters on their side of the temporary border, ostensibly for government transit due to the damage done to civilian infrastructure.
Soon after, these helicopters and much of Iraq's military were used to fight an uprising in the south. The Arabic service of the Voice of America supported the uprising by stating that the rebellion was well supported, and that they would soon be liberated from Saddam.
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This lead to the United States leading a military coalition of 39 different countries after the United Nations had authorized the use of force in late Before conducting the military operation, the United States built-up troops in Saudi Arabia to deter Iraq from attacking yet another country.
In January of , the coalition troop build-up in Saudi Arabia had reached upwards of ,, ready to attack the Iraqi forces who had yet to withdraw from Kuwait.
To ensure the Iraqi army would be sufficiently weakened before launching the counter-invasion, the Coalition started a vicious aerial bombardment of Iraq as well as Iraqi forces in Kuwait.
The sustained air campaign from the Coalition targeted Iraqi air-defense systems, communications systems, government buildings, oil fields, and vital bridges and roads.
After just three days of the ground campaign, Kuwait was liberated and on February 27, , Coalition troops stopped attacking Iraqi forces after learning they were to comply with the original United Nations resolution.
April 6, , marked the day that Iraq accepted the terms of a cease-fire agreement and the First Gulf War formally ended. Some of this payment was not monetary but service-related such as food and transport while United States troops were based in Saudi Arabia.
Since United States forces represented almost three-quarters of the troops fighting the conflict, the country absorbed a lot of the initial costs.